Defying stereotypes in kickboxing
WHEN 23-year-old Dolphina Walter Tony started taking Muay Thai classes about a year and a half ago, many were not so ecstatic about the idea since the sport is also associated with violence and aggression.
“I guess the most common misconception about Muay Thai is that it is a rough sport and those who join have the tendency to be violent, but it is more than that,” said the soft-spoken Muay Thai fighter from Limbang.
One look at her and you would never guess that she is trained as a Muay Thai fighter. Soft spoken and mild mannered, Dolphina defies the misconceptions of female fighters always depicted as an aggressive Type A female.
Admittedly when she first took the class, her parents were not at all excited that their daughter was participating in the sport.
But, she proved them wrong when she won the amateur category for women against another female fighters during the Sematan Festival that took place in November.
“My parents knew that I trained for Muay Thai, but they did not know that I participated in any fights. Only after I won the fight, did I tell them,” said Dolphina.
“During the fight, I was feeling nervous of course but the only thing that was going through my mind was ‘I have to win’,” she added.
Besides the competition in Sematan, she previously won the female junior amateur level category on April at Kompleks Belia dan Sukan Negeri Sarawak against a female fighter from Lundu in the 50-55 kg category.
Admittedly, back during her schooling days, apart from participating in much milder and more traditional sports like badminton and netball purely for recreational purposes, Dolphina never considered herself athletic.
However, that all changed about a year and a half ago when she first stumbled upon a Muay Thai gym at Tabuan Jaya. Somehow, her interest started to peak and she registered herself to train Muay Thai in the same gym the following day.
Starting her training at 7 pm at SS Muay Thai Gym in Matang Jaya, her training regime started off by running for an hour before proceeding to her usual training routine of basic Muay Thai techniques.
From practicing shadow boxing in front of the mirror to kicking and punching the heavy bag, the trainers have her take a water break between every session to keep hydrated. After warming up, Dolphina then proceeds to a sparring session with her coach, Addy.
For Dolphina, besides being consistent, with constant supervision and training under her Addy, the sport made her stay disciplined and keeps her focus from deviating.
According to Dolphina, when she first started training, she admitted it was not easy as one needs to first build up their stamina just to keep up with the training.
“Initially I could not even run for 5 minutes on the treadmill, but now, with consistent training I can run for an hour before starting the routine training. Before, I attended the session for only once a week. Now, I train daily and if I miss one day of training I feel unsettled,” she said.
“But now, since I have been doing for some time and consistently, it has become a habit. Usually for training, it would hurt much more than the actual fight, as you are so used to all the intense and gruelling training sessions,” she said.
For Dolphina, although the sport may seem intense and gruelling, she can feel herself improving both mentally and physically. Although at times the coach pushes her beyond her comfort zone, it is the intense training that makes her tougher and capable of extending her capabilities to the maximum limit.
On December 6th, representing the only female participant at a professional level, Dolphina participated in the D1 Fighting Championship-Rhino Warriors: The New Era in Sabah against Sabahan Deanna ‘the Venomous’ from DIHNAR Muay Gym.
Feeling encouraged and empowered after participating in fights, in the near future, Dolphina hopes to become a Muay Thai coach.
As for those who are interested in taking Muay Thai classes, but are still hesitant to do so, for Dolphina it is better to give it a try before concluding that the sport is not for you.
“Don’t limit yourself. If you really want something, just give it a try, because chances are you might end up liking it,” advised Dolphina.